cognac, coffee, water left out for restive insomniacs, reading lights on, in front blondes tucked under branded blankets sleeping pills heads tilted eye masks arms slack; a man dreams and dreams of lilac sheets and women while children wait, long-night-ahead stare at the infinity effect of blue rectangles down the aisle: a three-eyed raven, jugglers, gladiators, sports stars, squabbling warriors, on your screen images to experience but not to keep: two lovers, a night train and promises, stone streets of Vienna, the second movie apart for nine years, the lovers forever magicked in her Paris apartment in the middle of the night.
you study it for an ideal, above Mumbai, above war zones, oil of Kurdistan, lights of Tehran are down there, beef stroganoff in cling wrap, moonshine ripples on the Euphrates, stone houses of Cappadocia, Istanbul, a nocturnal rhombus of lights surrounding a black sea black heart. know that this darkened cylinder is held together by greasy string and ragged feathers. the thrum of collective wills keeps this impossibility howl in the air. a child snuggled in your arms sucks her thumb, your fields of marriage are ploughed with salt
lights 3.30am, a false dawn reheated toastie, weak tea and one-more-chance thinking, the line of flight map has no answer, captain announces third movie in the series, two more betrayals, the lovers on Crete with children, dinner on the terrace, fight in a hotel suite, future as provisional as our immediate survival in this silver tube. breakfast trays collected, the descent, passengers’ will to survive becomes vigilant, local time, local weather, flight twenty-two hours you’ve been travelling nine years through spousal sectors, trays stowed, smoking sign off seat belt sign on, clunk as the wheels go down, shiver through the plane
bank to the left, line up the runway, whine of air brakes, seats upright, you stand to access overhead locker, find the colour of lilac eyes, his lies, cheats, his dirty sheets. this closed society holds their breath as the wheels touch down, waits for the nose-dive into the runway – a hop, a skip, a bump and grounded, may never know if the lovers reconcile or part.